Friends of the Central Experimental Farm

Farm Notes - April 2024

Spring is here and it's almost planting season! Perfect timing for Our Plant Sale on Sunday, May 12

The Friends of the Farm Annual Plant Sale is the perfect place to stock up for your garden and find a Mother's Day gift as well!

  • Everything you need for your garden, with many of the region’s top specialty growers and nursery vendors assembled in one location!
  • Master Gardeners of Ottawa-Carleton will be on hand with free advice for all your gardening questions.
  • Our popular plant check service is under the canopy, so you can keep your hands free while shopping. Our volunteers will help carry your treasures to your vehicle.
  • Refreshment tables provide a nourishing break while you shop.
  • Peruse a selection of new and used gardening books for sale.
  • Our own publications, greeting cards and prints will also be available for purchase!

COST: admission is free for the public, with donations to FCEF gratefully accepted.

LOCATION: parking lot to the east of the K.W. Neatby Building, 960 Carling Ave.

TIME: 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. RAIN OR SHINE.

For more information, visit our webpage by clicking here.

VENDORS interested in participating in the sale should visit our website.

There's Still Time To Register for the

2024 Master Gardener Lectures!

Once again this year the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm is partnering with the Master Gardeners of Ottawa Carleton to offer timely and informative presentations.

The theme of the 2024 lecture series is Garden Friends and Foes, and there are five online lectures running from March 19 through to May 14. You may still register for the full series and receive a link to the full video recording of all five lectures, which will be available until the end of August. That way you can watch at your leisure!

Fees for the series are $45 for members, $55 for non-members.

Individual lectures are $10 and $12, respectively.

For registration and payment, click here.

Curious about Volunteering with the Friends of the Farm? Come Meet us at our Annual Volunteer Recruitment Event on April 6

Enjoy fresh air and exercise, meet new people, and contribute to the beauty of the Farm by joining one of the Friends' gardening teams!

We also have other volunteer opportunities, such as helping out at events or with office tasks or even joining our board of directors (see below).

Come meet the various garden team leaders as well as board members. Drop by any time between 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 6. We're located in Building 72, in the Dominion Arboretum, east of the roundabout. All are welcome but we ask that you register for this event - click here.

For more information for this event, see our Volunteer Recruitment webpage, and for more information on garden team duties, days, and times, see Volunteer Activities.

First Tree Tour of 2024!

Biodiversity and the Dominion Arboretum

April 28, 2024

In collaboration with the Canadian Wildlife Federation and the City Nature Challenge

The present rate of loss of biological diversity is a growing global environmental threat facing humanity. As a step in helping to measure biodiversity, the City Nature Challenge encourages people to upload species observations to the iNaturalist platform, adding to an international database. Over 40 countries and more than 400 cities are once again registered for this year’s event, which is conducted through a friendly competition between all participants world-wide.  The observation period for the City Nature Challenge spans four days, from April 26 to April 29, and this event aligns with that timeframe.  

Tour leader: TBA

Admission to the tour is free but registration is required. Places are limited, so first come, first served. Click here to see more details, including how to register. Registered participants will meet at Building 72 in the Dominion Arboretum at 9:30 a.m.

Please note that free parking at the Arboretum and on the Farm is becoming more limited. Paid parking is available at the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada Museum, a short walk from the Arboretum.

Annual General Meeting

Tuesday, May 7, 2024 at 7:00 p.m. 

The Board of Directors of the Friends of the Central Experimental Farm is pleased to announce that the 2024 Annual General Meeting (AGM) will take place on Tuesday, May 7, 2024, at 7:00 pm. Membership in FCEF is not required to attend, but only current FCEF members may vote.

The AGM will be held virtually via Zoom and you must register if you plan to attend. Registration for this event can be made via our online form until noon, Thursday, May 2. Registrants will receive an email with the link to the Zoom meeting on the afternoon of May 7, prior to the event. Register here.

Our invited speaker is Alex Henderson, Curator of Collections and Horticulturist at Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington.

Important: If you are not yet a member or if your membership has lapsed, please visit our website for membership details.

Visit the AGM webpage for more details. Also visit our website regularly for updates on these and other Friends of the Farm events.

Alex Henderson

Our guest speaker will be Alex Henderson, Curator of Collections and Horticulturist at Royal Botanical Gardens, Burlington. Alex will speak about his search for the elusive George C. Creelman lily, developed by famed horticulturalist Isabella Preston in 1919 (while she was still a student at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph). We are thrilled to welcome Alex and look forward to hearing about the twists and turns of his search! Alex was scheduled to speak at our 2023 AGM but was prevented from doing so.

"Every Moment Matters"

National Volunteer Week

April 14-20

Millions of Canadians from coast to coast to coast volunteer generously to a variety of causes and to improve the lives of others. Each year there is a theme for National Volunteer Week, such as the past themes: Volunteering Weaves Us Together; Volunteering is Empathy in Action; and Let’s All Cheer for Canada’s Volunteers. This year it is Every Moment Matters. In keeping with that theme, Volunteer Canada has highlighted the importance of recognizing each and every volunteer all across our country for: “The sharing of time, skills, empathy, and creativity…vital to the inclusivity, strength, and well being of our communities.”

At Friends of the Farm, we recognize and celebrate all of our 200+ volunteers, who together devote over 9,000 hours of their time and talents throughout the year. They play a vital role in maintaining the Ornamental Gardens, the Dominion Arboretum and the Merivale Shelterbelt, along with supporting our various events such as the annual Plant Sale and Used Book Sale, as well as contributing to office activities and other creative tasks. We are also grateful to the Board of Directors who oversee the activities and are committed to making the experiences of our volunteers rewarding. We sincerely thank them all. Cheers!

The Value of One, The Power of Many!

Spring Is Here!

Our greeting cards and books are the perfect ways to mark the season

Visit our online Boutique to order your gift items today! Thank you for your orders -- the proceeds help support the valuable work we do!


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or call us at 613-230-3276.

Charitable number: 118913565RR0001

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Friends of the Central Experimental Farm | 613-230-3276 | Building 72, Arboretum, Central Experimental Farm, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0C6 |

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